All the major visible planets have deserted our skies since October last year when we last saw Venus in the evening skies. However they are all set to come back to the evening skies in the coming months with Jupiter making a late night start from February and Mars and Saturn in April. Jupiter is at opposition (brightest, rising in the east while the Sun sets in the west) on March 8 and hence can be seen in the sky throughout the night from sunset to sunrise of the following day. Mars will be at opposition on May 22, while Saturn will be in opposition on June 3 both rising in the east when the sun is setting in the west. Venus makes its entry into the evening skies from July. Fast moving Mercury jumps in and out of morning and night skies several times during the year but does not rise more than 25 degrees above the horizon hence always a challenge and exciting to see. It will be at highest evening elevation of 20 degrees above the horizon at sunset on April 18.
For detailed listing of all the events that we will witness in Tanzania during the year, visit Astronomy in Tanzania website regularly to get updates on the events.
By Dr. Nooraji Jiwaji